What it Means to Float Your Artwork

When To Float

We have a lot of fun helping our customers work out what type of frame and style works best for their artwork and tastes. Depending on the aesthetic of your print and the type of paper it's printed on, we could recommend floating as an option. Floating a print means that it will sit on top of the matting, as opposed to being partially overlapped by the mat.

Float mounted Egyptian papyrus print with spacers in our Natural Maple frame

When a print has deckled or uneven edges, we typically suggest this treatment to emphasize and showcase the texture or shape of the paper. Floating artwork creates such a lovely effect that can enhance the overall beauty of the artwork and look great on any wall.

Elevated Float Mounting

We offer a few different ways to float your artwork, and one popular option is called "float mounting" which creates the illusion that the print is floating on it's own above the mat and inside the frame. The shadow created underneath the prints add some extra drama:

Float mounted print by David Welker in our Black Maple frame with spacers

To achieve this we mount the artwork with archival mounting tissue onto a foamboard and then mount that on the mat backing. The foamboard's thickness is what creates the float effect and shadow by spacing the art away from the backing. The foamboard edges are cut at 45 degree angles so when the frame is viewed from the side it disappears underneath.The plexi that we use are all non-stick, meaning that the print should not transfer onto the glaze. But if your artwork is high in value of if you prefer to keep some distance between the art and the acrylic, we can use spacers. We love the depth that float mounting creates and especially recommend it for prints with interesting textures and edges that can be accentuated.

Sandwich Floating

When the art is inserted between the glazing and backing, we aptly call it sandwich floating. With this treatment, the artwork is floated without spacers or the shadow effect of the float mounting.

Sandwich mounted print by Jed Henry in one of our custom silver and blue profiles

This particular type of floating subtly exhibits the textures of the paper without the dramatic effect that float mounting entails. If you'd like to add more impact and really make a sandwiched print pop, you can opt for black matting instead of off-white. In this case though, the paper has to be light in color or else its edges won't be as sharp or stand out.

Floating In Between Two Pieces of Acrylic

Occasionally we get requests to sandwich artwork in between two pieces of acrylic for a very contemporary and sleek effect. Using plexi instead of traditional backing or matting creates a transparent border around the art. These frames look great when hung on monochromatic walls and can be wildly creative in front of ornate wallpapers.

Two original Keith Haring drawings framed between two acrylic pieces. Left: front of frame, Right: back of frame

If you'd like Level to float your artwork or you're having trouble deciding which variation of floating would work best for your print and your decor, definitely reach out. We'll guide you through the custom framing process and together pick out the best way to present your artwork. We enjoy custom orders so don't be shy, just get in touch with our team via the chat bubble on site or via email to hello@levelframes.com.


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